Obama can't actually appoint people to positions right now because he isn't President yet, right? He is essentially announcing his intention to do so and then presumably on the afternoon of inauguration day he would sign a whole bunch of papers officially doing the nominating, right?
But I've also heard there will be confirmation hearings and such prior to January 20th. Not sure about the actual final votes on the nominations. How does that officially work if Obama does not yet actually have the power to nominate people to positions and won't until he is inaugurated?
I realize that practically it needs to be arranged in such a way that the new cabinet can start working as soon as the new administration takes office.
But does anybody know the technicalities of exactly how they work this?
I don't know where you've heard that there will be confirmation hearings prior to the inauguration. That said, I don't know that there's any reason that the Senate couldn't schedule hearings to discuss the merits of the nominee selections.
Unless there's a Senate rule that prevents them from starting discussions on these folks, why couldn't they? All they have to do is provide a vote after official nomination; I don't see how it matters when -- or if -- they hold hearings to discuss potential nominees. Theoretically, they could gather in a hallway with a Magic 8-Ball.
Oh, silly Greg. I know they can hold hearings on anything they want, whenever they want. My question is just on the logistics of what... They can't hold hearings on a nomination that hasn't occurred yet, so it would have to be hearings on the expected nomination or some such, which is just an interesting cart before the horse sort of thing, since USUALLY (except in transition periods) confirmation hearings are triggered by an actual nomination, rather than just the announcement of an intention to nominate.
Also, I just get annoyed by the sloppy language. News reports all over the place, and even the transition team themselves, are saying that Obama is nominating people to these posts, and in some cases I've even seen the words "officially nominated"... where in fact he has done no such thing and has no power to do so until he is inaugurated. He has just stated his intent to nominate certain people. (Or in the case of non-confirmed staff positions, his intention to hire them.)
Anyway, I did the 15 minutes of Googling necessary to make sure I knew the likely normal way these things proceed in terms of the official steps and process, and my intuition was right. I'll try to remember to put it in a separate post tonight.